Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Beatles • Let It Be... Naked

I realize this came out in 2003 and is not one of last year's remasters, so don't get yer panties in a wad. Having bought all of the 2009 reissues and gone over them a few times each, I gotta say that the original Let It Be album is the closest to a botched job the Fabs ever committed. The icky strings future murderer Phil Spector laid on—as well as the choirs and assorted other stuff—may have been the first time this guy ever killed something. Or was it legalized murder (sorry Robyn Hitchcock)?

So, having just loaded my Beatles albums into my iTunes library (at 320 kbps for virtually non-compressed listening), I decided to BREAK MY OWN RULES and load Let It Be… Naked in place of Let It Be. Gary Betourne and scads of Beatles purists the world over probably want to wring my neck, but I can't help it… the re-do Sir Paul instigated finally brings this album the glory it's always deserved. Through some clever electronic wrangling, slicing and dicing, the guys over at Abbey Road removed the junk Spector added and restored it back to what George Martin (and Glyn Johns, who engineered the sessions and took stabs at early track listings of the sessions) wanted. For the most part, the cleanup crew used the same takes that wound up on the original release, and kept from doing the kinds of things Capitol Records used to do to stretch the catalog. (Like, for instance, taking one version of "I Am the Walrus" with the extra measure in the middle, welding that onto the British stereo version that repeats the intro riff six times instead of four, and creating for the Rarities album "an all new version!")

It aint't exactly perfect though. I think the title leaves a lot to be desired. I mean, gosh Paul, that's really neat, you put the word "naked" into the title of one of your albums! What a cheap thrill. He probably reads Playboy for the articles, huh? I would've called it Let It Be and then just added some kind of disclaimer that said "the way it was meant to be" or Let It Be… Minus Phil Spector or something.
5/5 (Apple/Capitol)

1 comment:

  1. I watched Let it Be for the first time in about 30 years recently and it such a great look at those final, painful years. John strung out, Ringo bored, George sullen. And Paul the biggest cheerleading douchebag that anyone would want to strangle. It's no wonder they ran away from the project and let Spector finish the job.